updated 8/28/2008 8:52:02 AM ET 2008-08-28T12:52:02

The U.S. government says the number of people signing up for jobless benefits declined last week, the third straight drop from a six-year high reached earlier this month.

The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 425,000, down 10,000 from the previous week. That was a slightly better figure than the 427,000 analysts expected.

Still, economists consider claims above 400,000 an indicator of a slowing economy. Companies have cut jobs every month this year as they grapple with rising energy costs and tighter credit.

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